With isolation and limited ability to go outside the home, I find myself in a position (along with the rest of you) of nervousness and boredom. One can only watch so much Netflix before you develop bedsores and a stiff neck! So, I’ve set myself a challenge to play at least one board game a day during this time and if possible pair it with a good beer, wine, or cocktail. Why not! Feel free to play along. Just so my readers know, I’m not actually in quarantine yet–I’m a pediatrician and am still going into work on my regular work days. So while I’m not technically stuck at home, I am in a high-stress work environment these days and really need game playing as an outlet when I get home.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)

This is a game I’ve been itching to play for over a year. I picked up the game plus a ton of expansions from a local MN Facebook game trading/selling page. After doing a shady looking game deal with a stranger in a parking lot, I discovered I had even more than expected in my grubby hands. This was around the time I had started painting my miniatures for Imperial Assault, so started in on painting the multitude of minis included in the base Descent game. As of today I have completed every base game mini except 2 of the heroes. Getting closer!

Descent is a miniature and tile based board game published by Fantasy Flight Games in Roseville, MN. This is the second edition of the game, but has still been out for a long time (2012 I think). There has been minimal new physical content for the game over the past few years, but it continues to be popular and reprinted frequently. The game is set up as an Overlord style game: this means one player is in charge of all the bad guys and creatures, and from 1-4 players are the heroes, cooperating to beat the overloard. My wife does not like this style of game much, so we went with the newer app driven cooperative campaign for our first foray into Descent. With this free app, the monsters actions are controlled via the computer/tablet and you can focus your attention purely on combatting the forces of darkness together. Much better for quarantine gaming with a spouse!

With the app, your map tiles are placed as you play and open up doors, making it more exploration based. Each hero has their own character card with special skills and a heroic feat that can be used only once per game. You also have some starting equipment to beef up your character. I chose the cleric Avric Albright as my hero, starting with a hammer, shield, and a healing spell ability. In order to make each game different, each hero also has the choice of a few different class decks (more if you have expansions) which give different skills and equipment. As you advance in the campaign, you can purchase upgraded weapons and skills with money and experience points. Basically this is dungeons and dragons but with less roleplaying and more tactical combat.

Lemon: mighty die hunter

We played through the intro tutorial called Rise of the Goblins which still took about 2 hours with set-up and going through all the rules. The tutorial does a good job of explaining how the game and the app functions, while still being able to make some choices about how things go. I had hoped to move into the first larger quest, but we ran out of time. I hope to get back to this before we forget the rules!

To pair with this game we opened Unmapped Brewing‘s The Worst Day Since Yesterday. This is a pretty classic dry Irish stout (Guinness being the gold standard) brewed up for the St. Paddy’s day that didn’t happen. The name was based on amazing Irish/Punk band Flogging Molly‘s song of the same name. And the name became quite appropriate. The beer is dark, roasty, and perfect for a bit of spelunking! I’ve seen Flogging Molly live twice and you should check them out! And keep buying growlers from Unmapped (and other local breweries) to keep them afloat during this time of financial crisis for small local business.

Bliss is laying atop Eric’s map tiles.

I really liked our first play of Descent, but based on the intro game taking this long, a full adventure could take a while to play.